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The Future of Barcodes

Towards the 2D Revolution

The traditional linear barcode, known as the EAN code, found on virtually every product today, has limitations in data storage and functionality. It can only contain the product’s GS1 article number (GTIN). To meet today’s information needs, the barcode is thus on the verge of being replaced by a 2D code. In retail, this transition is expected to be complete by the end of 2027, affecting how we handle and trace products.

Versatility of the 2D Code

The 2D code, whether a QR code or a DataMatrix code, can contain a wealth of information such as expiration dates, batch numbers, serial numbers, and web content. This not only enhances traceability throughout the supply chain but also provides an opportunity to link consumers to detailed product information, offers, recipes, and return management.

Global Transition

The goal is for 2D codes to be globally adopted in retail by 2027. Despite this transition, EAN codes will coexist with 2D codes during a transitional period. This is because it will take time for all systems to handle 2D codes. Optical scanning technology is required to scan a 2D code, which is becoming more common in commerce, but a significant proportion of linear scanners are still in use. Different parts of the world will move at different paces toward this goal.

Early results indicate that scanning 2D codes is as easy and fast as scanning EAN codes. Pilot projects show that multiple barcodes on packaging do not affect scanning efficiency.

We can assist you in creating your barcode or 2D code and provide the desired quantity in both digital and physical formats. Read more about our Variable printed labels.

Learn more on the GS1 website: https://gs1.se/support_categories/streckkod-och-2d-kod-databarare/#heading-globalt-2d-program